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Nigeria To Conduct Census In 2022 As NPC Await President Approval

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In the just concluded week, the Federal Commissioner and Chairman of the Public Affairs Committee of the National Population Commission (NPC), Mr. Abdulmalik Durunguwa, reportedly said that the Commission awaits President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval to conduct an accurate and reliable national census by the first quarter of 2022.

He said NPC was strategising and working hard to ensure that the mistakes of the past were corrected by conducting an accurate and reliable census.

He stated that Buhari recently approved N10 billion intervention fund to enable the commission to carry out the Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) of the country.

According to him, the demarcation, a prelude to the conduct of the national census, is gaining momentum nationwide.

He said the commission was targeting to complete the enumeration by July, 2021.

Durunguwa added that with the approval of the intervention fund, NPC has demarcated 629 local government areas.

“So far by God’s grace, with the programme of the commission, we hope to ensure that before the end of July, that we are able to demarcate the entire country and to conveniently conduct the national census.

“We are hoping that by the time we finish the demarcation, which is the foundation of the census, we will be able to say yes, we are good to go and by the first quarter of 2022, honestly speaking, the NPC based on preparations on the ground, can be able to conveniently conduct a census in this country provided that Mr. President has given us the approval through a proclamation that the census should commence.

“We are pleading with all Nigerians to give us the support so that we can see if we can conduct this census by 2022; that is the first quarter. That is our target.

“We hope the government and Mr. President will give us the go-ahead so that we can carry out this exercise,” he said.

Durungowa explained that the enumeration of the local government areas would help the commission to have a proper picture of how many census enumerators would be deployed in the coming national census.

He said what was preoccupying the minds of the current leadership and personnel of the NPC was to deliver to Nigerians a population figure that would not only be accurate and believable but also one that would be devoid of ethnic, religious and other mundane sentiments.

He said the NPC had introduced some innovations in its activities, adding that it is also undertaking the computerisation of the enumeration.

He said the NPC had developed customised software to help in fast-tracking the demarcation, adding that it is kick-starting phase 14 of the household enumeration on April 25 with the target of reaching 34 local government areas.

“We are adopting computerised processes, using hand-held devices, PDX and high imagery resolution satellite technology, to improve the work of the commission,” he said.

On how the population commission intended to avoid the anomalies of the past census, Durunguwa said the technological innovations being introduced would go a long way to resolve issues that created doubts and lack of trust in the final outcome of the census.

“The latest technology we are using is a technology that is giving us no much question to be asked because it is already tried, tested by this our enumeration of area demarcation.

“I wish we’ll have time where we’ll display it to Nigerians to see what we are doing and it will go a long way in convincing people that the population commission is ready by what we have to be able to conduct a census that cannot be disputed.

“This world is going technologically and we can’t be left behind in this country; we also have to key in; so, that is why we are deploying the latest technology in trying to make sure that the exercise we are doing right now is well taken care of so that when Mr. President gives us the go-ahead to conduct the census, we can say it’s good to go.

“The government cannot plan without having the actual figure you are working with and that is why it is very important with the kind of president we have on the ground to be able to have this go-ahead to conduct this census,” he stated.

According to him, the NPC’s website is being repositioned to enable it to provide information to the public.

He regretted the challenges the country has to face over inaccurate and doubtful census figures, adding that it is high time that Nigerians began to thing positive about issues affecting the survival of the country.

When asked about the position of NPC on population control, Durunguwa said there was no doubt that the rate of growth of Nigeria’s population was alarming.

He identified some factors such as religion and culture as affecting efforts at implementing policies on population control in the past.

He said: “We are working tirelessly and we have sent a reviewed national policy on population control to Mr. President and any moment from now, the federal government is going to look at critically and approve a population policy for the country.”

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Kagame Dominates Election with 99.15% of Votes Counted

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President Paul Kagame has taken a commanding lead in the Rwandan presidential election, securing 99.15% of the votes counted thus far, according to the National Electoral Commission.

The provisional results, reported by the state broadcaster Rwanda Broadcasting Agency, indicate a decisive victory for the Rwandan Patriotic Front candidate.

With 79% of the ballots tallied, Kagame’s overwhelming lead leaves his opponents trailing significantly.

Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda has garnered only 0.53% of the votes, while independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana has received 0.32%.

The voter turnout has been reported at an impressive 98%, underscoring the high level of public engagement in the electoral process.

The early results suggest a strong mandate for Kagame, who has been at the helm of Rwandan politics since 2000.

Kagame’s administration has been marked by significant economic growth and development, but it has also faced criticism for its stance on political dissent and freedom of expression.

Despite this, Kagame remains a highly popular figure in Rwanda, with many citizens crediting him for the country’s stability and progress.

The National Electoral Commission is expected to release the final results in the coming days. As the tallying continues, Kagame’s supporters have already begun celebrating his anticipated victory.

Analysts believe that Kagame’s likely re-election will provide continuity in Rwanda’s economic policies and development programs.

However, they also call for more inclusive governance and respect for political freedoms to ensure long-term stability and growth.

Kagame’s near-unanimous support in the early results reflects his entrenched position in Rwandan politics.

His ability to maintain such high levels of support will be a focal point of discussion in the aftermath of the election.

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Kenya Prepares for More Protests Over Unresolved Political Crisis

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Kenya is on the brink of another wave of anti-government protests as efforts to resolve the nation’s escalating political crisis appear to have stalled.

President William Ruto’s proposal for a national dialogue has yet to take off, leaving the nation in a state of heightened tension.

Activists have called for demonstrations across the East African nation on Tuesday, protesting the government’s failure to hold security forces accountable for the deaths of at least 41 people.

These casualties occurred during protests against Ruto’s contentious plan to raise taxes over the past month.

Despite the president’s announcement last week that national dialogue would commence on Monday to defuse the situation, progress has been elusive.

The main opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), expressed uncertainty regarding the proposed talks.

“We haven’t received any invitation,” ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna stated. “When called, we’ll go because we are keen on getting broad-based reforms.”

A spokesperson for the presidency indicated that parliamentary leaders were managing the planned talks, but National Assembly majority leader Kimani Ichung’wah did not respond to requests for comment.

Protests initially erupted in mid-June over Ruto’s plans to increase taxes on essential goods, including bread and diapers, aiming to raise over $2 billion to reduce the government’s budget shortfall.

The public outcry forced Ruto to abandon the proposal, but dissatisfaction remains high.

Last week, in a dramatic move to quell public anger, Ruto fired almost all his cabinet members, underscoring the severity of the discontent.

The scrapping of the tax measures is expected to widen the government’s budget deficit to 3.6% of GDP in the current fiscal year, up from a previous projection of 3.3%.

This financial strain has not gone unnoticed; Moody’s Ratings downgraded Kenya’s rating by a step to Caa1, plunging it deeper into junk status, highlighting the country’s deteriorating fiscal condition.

On Saturday, Ruto vowed to hold accountable those responsible for the recent killings. However, his efforts to address public concerns seem insufficient to stem the tide of unrest.

On Monday, he called on the Ford Foundation, an organization promoting civic engagement, to clarify its role in the protests, though the foundation did not respond to requests for comment.

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Rishi Sunak Announces Resignation Amid Labour’s Sweeping Victory

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Rishi Sunak

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced his resignation as the leader of the Conservative Party following a historic victory by Labour in the general election.

Addressing the nation from the steps of 10 Downing Street, Sunak expressed his deep regret and took full responsibility for the party’s defeat.

“I would like to say, first and foremost, I am sorry. I have given this job my all,” Sunak began, visibly moved.

“But you have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change. And yours is the only judgement that matters. I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss.”

The Conservatives experienced a staggering loss, with more seats taken by Labour than in any previous election.

This shift marked a dramatic change in the political landscape, as large swathes of the country turned red. Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, claimed victory early Friday morning, addressing a jubilant crowd of supporters.

“The UK has the opportunity after 14 years to get its future back,” Starmer proclaimed.

Sunak, who retained his seat in Richmond, North Yorkshire, described the night as “sobering.”

In his concession, he stated, “The Labour Party has won this general election, and I have called Sir Keir Starmer to congratulate him on his victory. The British people have delivered a sobering verdict tonight; there is much to learn, and I take responsibility for the loss.”

Following his resignation speech, Sunak and his wife, Akshata, departed from Downing Street for Buckingham Palace to formally tender his resignation to King Charles III.

A spokesperson for the King confirmed, “His Majesty was graciously pleased to accept.”

Reflecting on his tenure, Sunak said, “I am honoured to have been your prime minister. This is the best country in the world.”

He also acknowledged the many Conservative MPs who lost their seats, stating, “It pains me to think how many good colleagues who contributed so much to their communities and our country will now no longer sit in the House of Commons. I thank them for their hard work and their service.”

As the Conservative Party faces a period of introspection and rebuilding, Sunak emphasized the importance of the party’s role in opposition.

“It is important that the Conservative Party now rebuilds and also takes up its crucial role in opposition, professionally and effectively,” he noted.

The leadership race within the Conservative Party is expected to commence shortly, as the party seeks to navigate its path forward after this significant electoral defeat.

For now, the UK braces for a new political era under Labour’s leadership, with the promise of significant changes on the horizon.

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